tv Inside Story Al Jazeera September 27, 2014 11:30am-12:01pm EDT
of here... >> the incredible journey continues... on the edge of eighteen only on al jazeera america >> weather you run a gorill guerrilla army or trying to make the jump of creating a new country, you need money, lots of money. where are the fighters finding the cash t to take over syria and iraq. >> you hello, i'm ray suarez.
armies have been fighting what the policy intellectuals call non-state actors. whether it's the resistence army in uganda, al-shabab or the farc in colombia, they all need money to buy launchers, grenade grenades, bullets. now the islamic state in iraq and the levant with the stated goal of creating a country, the islamic state. teams around the world are now trying to shut down the money that has flowed to the region. in the air campaign against isil in syria coalition forces target the fighters and now their money. >> these were as were the strikes we conducted earlier this week in syria strategic attacks meant specifically to get at the ways this group
sustains, leads, and controls itself. there will be more. >> this week's bombing runs destroyed 12 oil refineries in syria controlled by isil. >> the small scale refineries create fuel and fund attacks. >> u.s. central commands say that the refineries process 300 to 500 million barrels of oil. on top of the money that isil receives and generates is something else entirely. this week president obama presided over the security council as it voted unanimously on a binding resolution. >> specifically nations are required to prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of
foreign terrorist fighters, as well as the financing of their travel or activities. >> isil presents an unique challenge, unlike al-qaeda the insurgents control a large swath of territory. it generates money through threat and extortion, holding hostages or ransom. shutting off isil's money also requires diplomacy and help from persian gulf state partners. this week the emir of qatar approved strict new regulations on charities involved in politics or sending money abroad. treasury department follows the money, too. just this week it froze the assets of two dozen groups and individuals including a turkish man who transferred money to the islamic state. the tool kit is well-known
in terrorist circles. theft, kidnappings, shakedowns, bank robberies and a network of sympathizers with deep pocket. has isil gone further than it's peers by establishing control over extensive and oil rich territories. pipelines, banks, ammo dumps. cities close to self -sustaining. christopher swift, former official at the u.s. department of the treasury. from new york, richard barry, he was the united nations' al-qaeda team chief. and also from our inside story studio, muqta r anwar at the center for american progress. welcome to you all. great to have you on the program. richard, let me start with you. if we were sitting in a pickup
truck that serves as the treasury ministry of the islamic state, what are the main sources of cash? what are the streams, the revenue streams, we might say? >> well, i think your report sums them up very well. oil is clearly the biggest producer, now the sale of some of syrian and iraq's heritage with the export of antiquities and so on. another point that was not mentioned was that a lot of people have fled the area, and the islamic state has taken over the houses of people who are from different faith or who objected to their rule and left. so confiscations is also quite a good source of income at the moment.
>> as far as being able to determine, is this being run in an ad hoc catch as catch can kind of way or is there a strategy, a set of techniques well understand by the arms of the organization? >> well, it is quite a centralized organization. a lot of it comes from the baa baath party. and the--if you think of the territory covered by the islamic state somewhere north of aleppo and somewhere south of baghdad clearly there are a lot of people who need to administer it, who need paying, and then there are those who need to be bought. each branch needed to provide a certain amount of money to the center. i think that was something which became deeply rooted in the organization. the money collected locally was not necessarily yours. it was for the benefit of the
whole group. >> christopher swift, is that the key difference? the control of territory? does that make you more like the taliban than a group that is always on the run? always on the move? >> in many respects, yes. one of the key differences that richards pointed out, raising money for operations, an one-off approach, very much the model that al-qaeda was in, september 11, 2001, and then the self-sustaining generating sources of income. creating a space between syria and iraq. and it goes more importantly with the phenomenon , . >> so they're selling gasoline, sure, they're collecting road
fees from long-haul truck drivers, how important now that they've got this territory, is that outside funding? we keep hearing about rich people scattered around the world who are willing to send money towards that new state. >> i would argue that before the airstrikes began it wasn't important. some u.s. officials have said that. however, now as their infrastructure is being hit, as oil refineries are being hit, that kind of cash will have . we interviewed officers on the run from isis in aleppo, and he
himself said what made people at that time want isis was that as opposed to the fsa they were not looting from simply citizens. they were able to institute a policy of taxation, but also charity, and perhaps most importantly is law and order, as barbaric as it may be, these are ungoverned territory. anyone who would be able to have some governance and resources would not alienate the population quickly. >> i'm interested in your point outside sources become as important as inside ones become more complicated. does this also make them easier to smoke out? >> i think during this time period when after, of course, the u.n. resolution on foreign fighters there should be some mechanisms in place
, who is going to turkey? many of us know names from kuwait, which in august were put by the u.s. treasury put on a sanctions treasury. a lot of people go to turkey and smuggle cash in plastic bags, even. so right now i think there should an push to really focus in on saudis, kuwaitis that are traveling to turkey. what kind of travel patterns are happening, what kind of communications are they having in northern syria and iraq. i hope there is an attempt to smoke these people out.
>> richard barry, i don't want to leave oil behind entirely. it's an interesting industry. you can't use it all yourself. you can't sell it all yourself. it requires partners and coordination in a way that is really difficult. if you're pumping oil, if you're shipping oil, don't you need partners? >> of course you do, you're right. but i think there are plenty of people who are prepared to take the risk of buying islamic state oil if it's being offered to them . okay, they take the risk and confiscated, similar to the drug trade in a way. the drug trade booms despite the seizures. there is constantly being
assessed by middle man by smugglers and sometimes it goes wrong and sometimes it goes right. >> we'll be back to inside story after a short break. we'll talk more about cutting off the money. is the case of isil, the combination of detective work, naming, shaming and diplomatic pressure, will it work? stay with us. >> it's a weekday morning in new york city and a line forms well before doors open at this east harlem food pantry. the people waiting for food range from young mothers to older people on fixed incomes. inside the pantry, the number of people needing food is only growing. congress cut 5 billion dollars from "s.n.a.p." or the "supplemental nutrition assistance program" in late 2013; because of that, the new york common pantry, one of the largest in new york - serving 3 million meals annually, reports
a 26% increase in recipients in the last year. new york ranked 4 in a recent survey of cities around the globe with the highest percentage of millionaires. joel berg, who heads the new york coalition against hunger says, as the city gets wealthier, demand at the 1000 plus food kitchens he represents is only increasing. >> well when neighborhoods gentrify, the demand goes up because rent is the single greatest cost that low income people face and if they can't afford to pay rent, they can't afford to buy food. >> and with less government aid for food, the strain is on charities to fill the void and depend on donations to keep feeding new york's hungry.
trucks and suvs flying the flag of isil. when they're on the news and carrying the best of lethal weapons you may wonder where they get the money. we're looking at the announced goal of drying up the groups' money. professor swift let's talk about some of the techniques and approaches to find out where it's coming from, how it's traveling? what can you do? the revenue, the funds that come in from outside. in terms of the indogenous revenue. when isis shatters. when it goes to ground in the face of conventional airstrikes it's more important to look at those
indogenous sources. now looking at the exogenous sources, those that come in from the outside, the primary vector to look at, you're absolutely correct on this, the money that flow in from other countries. >> literally, physically. >> literally, physically carried in sacks. but you have to remember when someone moves from egypt into turkey and then on to syria. when someone comes in from london to syria, that person is not going to be an especially designated national that someone will recognize. it will be some tourist on a tourist visa. that person suddenly becomes a vector for wire payment it's, for family and friends supporting, and also for third party groups to push money into the theater through these
individuals that are designated. one of the things that the treasury and allies do overseas is running their foundations into ground. they're informal, local, and highly personalized. that will require a level of attention to detail that the treasury department and it's allies wil haven't quite adapted to. >> measures for detecting large deposits, large withdraws, and hide where money is going, and hide who is getting it. >> well, you're absolutely right. the ability to transfer money electronically has become so much more sophisticated over the last year. someone who is determined to move a lot of money from the gulf, let's say, to turkey, can do so relatively easily without necessarily being
detected so much. particularly if they're doing it in small amounts. but the international community has a lot more sophisticated resources as well. a lot of it has to do with the capacity, if you like, and states where money is being collected to transfer it to these designated groups. we saw a resolution at the security council but there have been many previous resolutions that tell states they must do this. and isle isil is a friend of nobody, so there is a willingness to put these measures into place. >> mokhtar awad, are the international actors really serious on cracking down on their own nationals who may be funding this group? >> if we're going to talk about
the arab partners, it's a delicate balancing act between the capacity of these countries and what they can do without over exposing and over extending themselves. but they should not be left off the hook. kuwait as an example. the u.s. treasury has put two of their nationals on the list. they were detained, questioned for hours and let go. their channels, of course, were not allowed to broadcast, but these people are still allowed to walk freely. at the same time kuwait has its own consideration of arresting these people in mass. because ultimately you'll need to take a step like this. now if you look at jordan and a different side of the equation, not isis but al nusra. yes, a recruiter for nusra who brings not only money but men.
he called me up and asked me if i wanted to see a funeral for a fighter, but the jordanians let him stay. only because he not against isis but not with isis. >> what would be the down side risk of trying to cut off the oxygen of these kinds of operators? they're clearly creating a lot of havoc, make it very difficult not only to run your own country, but the countries of your neighbors, and there is a pile of dead bodies that reaches towards the sky as a result. what would it mean for qatar, for saudi arabia, for countries that aren't as rich but also are heavily infiltrated big jordan to finally say enough. we just can't do this any more? >> i think it's when they start to recognize that there are extension threats to their stability and to the legitimacy of their government. unfortunately, at this time i
don't feel they've actually felt that pinch good enough. there are countries that ex-excuse like jordan, which really doesn't have the resources to be able to counter some of these groups. however, a country like qatar, saudi arabia or kuwait, i don't think they've felt the pinch enough, and it may take actors to do something on the soil of these countries for them to take the steps to detain some of these individuals. >> we'll be back on "inside story." it's been widery reported. some of the members of the group have also been sending money to extremist fighting forces in syria and iraq. will this slow or stop the flow of money? stay with us.
with bombs and weapons. still with us, christopher swift, professor at georgetown. also former official at the u.s. department of the treasury. from new york, richard barrett, senior vice president of the sufon group. and also from our inside story studio mokhtar awad. with international policy team at the center for american policy. president obama in the last few days knocked people who were trying to have it both ways. those who accumulate wealth through the global economy and then siphon funds to those who teach their children to tear it down. can they continue to have it both ways? >> i hope not. however, we see what's going on in turkey, where the pressure is
increasing there isn't enough evidence to suggest that, for instance, smuggling operations are continuing between the turkish border and isis-controlled areas stopping any time soon. movement from the turkish officials to seal their borders are something that you raised, and said, well, it's impossible. unfortunately, what we are hearing is that it benefits some of the turkish elite who are believing to some extent they're helping their fellow muslims in syria. and so even in a country like turkey, a nato country, we're not able to lay down the law in a way on something that is up front .
>> trying to make the distinction. and maybe when you're talking about a nation of 100 million people that might be credible, but is it credible when you're talking about gulf states where the leadership cadres are small, everyone is really rich and knows each other and it's harder to believe, i wonder, if someone can go on funding a terrorist army without anyone really knowing about it? >> that's a good point. i think many of the rich donors don't necessarily give it directly to isil. this is a problem for governments as well. if you're funding other groups who are imposed to the
are opposed, it goes into groups, and many of the rebels in syria are saying you hit them, you hit us. many may have sympathy with that argument as well. one of the tactics would be to embed itself . >> a delicate state. naming people who shuttle money that goes to weapons and military forces that behead,
crucify and burn cities. >> that's part of the discussion that is going on inside the treasury department now and even more importantly than the security council at large as they try to coordinate the sources and intelligence they have on various pathways in. we have to emphasize once again the external forces are important and we can't ignore them, but it's really these internal sources that keep isis afloat. look, isis is a learning adaptive organization. it survived being cut off from the global network. that means they're more rebust, more dynamic and more resilient. an organization like isil, their ability to raise funds, generate money and sustain themselves will be a product of military influence on the ground. their military influence on the ground is going to directly
impact their ability to raise funds. when we think about the financial aspect of this war and intelligence, sanctioning, naming and shaming, it has to be part of a broader management . s something that we can't stream with one set of issues. >> we have to end it there, but it sounds like that prospect will be very tough on people who live in the regions that isil controls, and it will get even worse. to my guests, thank you very much. that brings us to the end of this addition of "inside story." thank you for being with us. from washington, i'm ray suarez.